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Great Expectations > GE, Chapters 06 - 07

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message 1: by Kim (last edited Feb 02, 2017 12:44PM) (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Hello all,

In this installment we begin with chapter 6 find Joe is carrying Pip home because it is so long a distance. I got wondering how old Pip must be to be small enough for Joe to carry him all the way home. Pip feels guilty about not telling Joe what really happened with the pie and Joe's file, but he is afraid of losing Joe's love so he keeps quiet. Arriving home Joe tells the ones who have remained behind what had happened and they begin to all suggest different ways the convict may have gotten into the house. At this point Pip's sister "helps" him up to bed:

"This was all I heard that night before my sister clutched me, as a slumberous offence to the company’s eyesight, and assisted me up to bed with such a strong hand that I seemed to have fifty boots on, and to be dangling them all against the edges of the stairs."


Chapter 7 begins with my favorite quote of this chapter:

"At the time when I stood in the churchyard reading the family tombstones, I had just enough learning to be able to spell them out. My construction even of their simple meaning was not very correct, for I read “wife of the Above” as a complimentary reference to my father’s exaltation to a better world; and if any one of my deceased relations had been referred to as “Below,” I have no doubt I should have formed the worst opinions of that member of the family. Neither were my notions of the theological positions to which my Catechism bound me, at all accurate; for, I have a lively remembrance that I supposed my declaration that I was to “walk in the same all the days of my life,” laid me under an obligation always to go through the village from our house in one particular direction, and never to vary it by turning down by the wheelwright’s or up by the mill."

It is followed shortly with another paragraph I love:

" There was a fiction that Mr. Wopsle “examined” the scholars once a quarter. What he did on those occasions was to turn up his cuffs, stick up his hair, and give us Mark Antony’s oration over the body of Caesar. This was always followed by Collins’s Ode on the Passions, wherein I particularly venerated Mr. Wopsle as Revenge throwing his blood-stained sword in thunder down, and taking the War-denouncing trumpet with a withering look. It was not with me then, as it was in later life, when I fell into the society of the Passions, and compared them with Collins and Wopsle, rather to the disadvantage of both gentlemen."

One day, Joe and Pip sit talking; Joe admires a letter Pip has written to him. Joe thinks it is quite wonderful and delights in pointing out the Js and Os in it. There is an awful part where Joe tells Pip why he had never gone to school. It seems that his father had "hammered away" and both Joe and his mother:

“‘Consequence, my mother and me we ran away from my father several times; and then my mother she’d go out to work, and she’d say, “Joe,” she’d say, “now, please God, you shall have some schooling, child,” and she’d put me to school. But my father were that good in his hart that he couldn’t abear to be without us. So, he’d come with a most tremenjous crowd and make such a row at the doors of the houses where we was, that they used to be obligated to have no more to do with us and to give us up to him. And then he took us home and hammered us. Which, you see, Pip,” said Joe, pausing in his meditative raking of the fire, and looking at me, “were a drawback on my learning.”

It makes me want to hammer away at the father. The conversation then turns to why in the world Joe - or anyone else on earth - would marry Pip's sister. Joe tells Pip:

“And last of all, Pip,—and this I want to say very serious to you, old chap,—I see so much in my poor mother, of a woman drudging and slaving and breaking her honest hart and never getting no peace in her mortal days, that I’m dead afeerd of going wrong in the way of not doing what’s right by a woman, and I’d fur rather of the two go wrong the t’other way, and be a little ill-conwenienced myself. I wish it was only me that got put out, Pip; I wish there warn’t no Tickler for you, old chap; I wish I could take it all on myself; but this is the up-and-down-and-straight on it, Pip, and I hope you’ll overlook shortcomings.”

Soon Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook arrive and tell Joe and Pip that Miss Havisham, "an immensely rich and grim lady who lived in a large and dismal house barricaded against robbers", wants Pip to come to her house and play. Mrs. Joe says that Pip must go because this could make him rich. He leaves that night with Mr. Pumblechook to be taken to Miss Havishham to play the next day. I don't know which seems creepier to me, having to spend a night with Mr. Pumblechook or to go play at the home of Miss Havishham. I'm just glad I'm not Pip.


message 2: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod



Chapter 7

John McLenan

1860

Harper's Weekly 4 (8 December 1860)

Commentary:

"In this chapter headnote vignette, Mrs. Joe assists Pip in washing prior to his making his social debut at Satis House, where (through the agency of Uncle Pumblechook) Miss Havisham has invited him to "play" (though tellingly he does not understand what the word means). The specific moment realized occurs towards the end of the seventh chapter:

"With that, she pounced on me, like an eagle on a lamb, and my face was squeezed into wooden bowls in sinks, and my head was put under taps of water-butts, and I was soaped, and kneaded, and toweled, and thumped, and harrowed, and rasped, until I really was quite beside myself. (I may here remark that I suppose myself to be better acquainted than any living authority, with the ridged effect of a wedding-ring, passing unsympathetically over the human countenance.)"

Dillard, particularly with respect to this illustration, terms McLenan "an American Phiz" who transforms the first-person narrative of the text to an objective or dramatic rendering that communicates directly Pip's feeling and experience by rough, almost hasty lines and deep, irregular cross-hatching."



message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


At such times as your sister is on the ram-page, Pip

John McLenan

Chapter 7

Text Illustrated:

“Well, you see, Pip, and here we are! That’s about where it lights; here we are! Now, when you take me in hand in my learning, Pip (and I tell you beforehand I am awful dull, most awful dull), Mrs. Joe mustn’t see too much of what we’re up to. It must be done, as I may say, on the sly. And why on the sly? I’ll tell you why, Pip.”

He had taken up the poker again; without which, I doubt if he could have proceeded in his demonstration.

“Your sister is given to government.”

“Given to government, Joe?” I was startled, for I had some shadowy idea (and I am afraid I must add, hope) that Joe had divorced her in a favor of the Lords of the Admiralty, or Treasury.

“Given to government,” said Joe. “Which I meantersay the government of you and myself.”

“Oh!”

“And she an’t over partial to having scholars on the premises,” Joe continued, “and in partickler would not be over partial to my being a scholar, for fear as I might rise. Like a sort of rebel, don’t you see?”

I was going to retort with an inquiry, and had got as far as “Why—” when Joe stopped me.

“Stay a bit. I know what you’re a going to say, Pip; stay a bit! I don’t deny that your sister comes the Mo-gul over us, now and again. I don’t deny that she do throw us back-falls, and that she do drop down upon us heavy. At such times as when your sister is on the Ram-page, Pip,” Joe sank his voice to a whisper and glanced at the door, “candor compels fur to admit that she is a Buster.”

Joe pronounced this word, as if it began with at least twelve capital Bs.

“Why don’t I rise? That were your observation when I broke it off, Pip?”

“Yes, Joe.”

“Well,” said Joe, passing the poker into his left hand, that he might feel his whisker; and I had no hope of him whenever he took to that placid occupation; “your sister’s a master-mind. A master-mind.”

“What’s that?” I asked, in some hope of bringing him to a stand. But Joe was readier with his definition than I had expected, and completely stopped me by arguing circularly, and answering with a fixed look, “Her.”



message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod

"Why, here's a J," said Joe, "and a O equal to anythink!"

F. A. Fraser

1877

Chapter 7

Text Illustrated:

There was no indispensable necessity for my communicating with Joe by letter, inasmuch as he sat beside me and we were alone. But I delivered this written communication (slate and all) with my own hand, and Joe received it as a miracle of erudition.

“I say, Pip, old chap!” cried Joe, opening his blue eyes wide, “what a scholar you are! An’t you?”

“I should like to be,” said I, glancing at the slate as he held it; with a misgiving that the writing was rather hilly.

“Why, here’s a J,” said Joe, “and a O equal to anythink! Here’s a J and a O, Pip, and a J-O, Joe.”



message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


Joe Gargery and Pip

Chapter 7

Felix O. C. Darley

1888

Dickens's Great Expectations, as realized in No. 6 of Character Sketches from Dickens (1888)


message 6: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I got wondering how old Pip must be to be small enough for Joe to carry him all the way home. "

That didn't bother me, since I used to carry my son when he got tired on long walks even when he was fairly heavy. A blacksmith presumably would be of at least average, and probably above average, strength. And we see that Pip was not overfed, so he was probably not all that heavy even if he was a bit older.


message 7: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
I like Darley's idea of Pip and Joe sitting together over that little blackboard, trying to master the intricacies of English spelling. The slightly blurred quality of the picture makes it seem more comfy and also gives the idea that these are childhood memories presented by a man much older now.

As to John McLenan's illustration, I am impressed with how well he captured Joe's mood as a husband of a wife who finds herself quite often on the Rampage. There's this kind of dejectedness and meekness in his attitude that goes well with his situation. Pip, on the other hand, does not really convince me here: He looks extremely grumpy although he is with Joe.


message 8: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2229 comments Tristram wrote: "I like Darley's idea of Pip and Joe sitting together over that little blackboard, trying to master the intricacies of English spelling. The slightly blurred quality of the picture makes it seem mor..."

I think Darley's drawing of Pip and Joe is one of my favorites. He does such a wonderful job of capturing the warmth between the two of them. And, As Tristram noted, the blurred edges soften it beautifully, making me feel as if the external stuff isn't as important compared to their relationship in that moment.


message 9: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
So the blurred edges are part of the picture and not due to age or other outward influences?


message 10: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2229 comments Tristram wrote: "So the blurred edges are part of the picture and not due to age or other outward influences?"

It seems to be Darley's thing. I noticed in another of his pictures - of the soldiers, I think - the blurry edges while the subject of the drawing in the center was sharp.


message 11: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
As I said, those blurry edges seem quite felicitous to me because they seem to underline the fact that Pip, in telling his story, has to think back a long way into the past.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I liked the part with Pip and Joe talking about Joe's early life. In a way, it might explain more of why Joe continues to take all the abuse dished out by his wife. He saw his own mother get treated badly and he vows not to treat another woman so poorly. I wonder how they ever got together in the beginning?
Pip's sister doesn't exactly sound like the dating sort, or the sort that would ever really care for anyone, so it must have been her seeing someone who would take her and her little brother in, and give them a home.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Julie wrote: " I wonder how they ever got together in the beginning? "

It's a small village. I assumed that they knew each other growing up. But that's just a guess.


message 14: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Somehow, however, Joe seems to be quite smitten with his wife and not to see the nutmeg-grater in her that we, and Pip, make her out to be.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments Could Joe worry there is some of his father in him and therefore never argues or raises his voice?


message 16: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "Could Joe worry there is some of his father in him and therefore never argues or raises his voice?"

I definitely think so.


message 17: by Everyman (last edited Feb 09, 2017 03:06PM) (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Somehow, however, Joe seems to be quite smitten with his wife and not to see the nutmeg-grater in her that we, and Pip, make her out to be."

Hmmm. Smitten with, or smitten by? And smitten in which usage of the word?

"For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people..." Exodus 9.15


message 18: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2229 comments Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Somehow, however, Joe seems to be quite smitten with his wife and not to see the nutmeg-grater in her that we, and Pip, make her out to be."

Hmmm. Smitten with, or smitten by? And..."


Biblically speaking, wouldn't that be "smote"?


message 19: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Mary Lou wrote: "Biblically speaking, wouldn't that be "smote"? "

If we're talking from Mrs. Joe's point of view, yes. She smote Joe a mighty blow with her tickler.

But if it's from Joe's point of view, as the victim, I think smitten is correct. He was smitten by her, not he was smote by her.


message 20: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Hmmm, what have I done. Seems like I have hit (or hitten???) on another complicated English word. What I wanted to say is that Joe must have been very impressed by his wife when he first saw her and still is, in a way.


message 21: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Hmmm, what have I done. Seems like I have hit (or hitten???) on another complicated English word. What I wanted to say is that Joe must have been very impressed by his wife when he first saw her an..."

Not really. You used smitten exactly correctly. I was making a bit of a joke using it in its other sense (a pun, upun my word!)


message 22: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
It was a good pun because it made me look up "smite" again and I learned the literal meaning of the word in its Biblical context.


message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod



message 24: by Peter (new)

Peter | 2923 comments Mod
Kim

Thanks for posting the pages of the comic. And to think I was worried that you would find yourself without images to share with us.

I like how at the bottom centre we read "NEXT WEEK - The mysterious Miss Havisham."If my parents had given me these comics I would have discovered Dickens way before Grade Ten.


message 25: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) That intrigues me as mine were the complete story. I'll have to go and look.


message 26: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "I like how at the bottom centre we read "NEXT WEEK - The mysterious Miss Havisham."If my parents had given me these comics I would have discovered Dickens way before Grade Ten."

I like this especially because Dickens himself was a master of creating cliff-hangers as we can see by looking at the endings of the respective installments of Great Expecations.


message 27: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Message 23 is from a different comic.


message 28: by Ami (new)

Ami | 371 comments Chapter 6

I do not recall that I felt any tenderness of conscience in reference to Mrs. Joe, when the fear of being found out was lifted off of me. But I loved Joe-perhaps for no better reason in those early days than because the dear fellow let me love him-and, as to him, my inner self was not so easily composed (57).
If this isn't one of the most heart wrenching quotes coming from a child, I don't know what is. Oh, I felt so terrible for Pip's circumstances...To be capable of love because you are allowed? To then end the chapter with a visual of Mrs. Joe assisting Pip up to bed with a heavy hand because he appeared to be a slumberous offence to the company's eyesight...It felt like a solid juxtaposition of dynamics by Dickens (58).

Pip is tormented by wanting to come clean to Joe again in this chapter as well. It bothers me to see a stand up child like Pip, who wants to do the honorable thing and speak his truth, emotionally repressed by fear that Joe would think me worse than I was...He is debiliated by the fear instilled in him by that prickly woman, his sister. Dickens and his obsession with childhood emotional/mental abuse at the hands of terrible agitators...It never gets easy, does it?

Compared to "David Copperfield," there is a lot more humor in this novel, I'm finding. Mr. Pumblechook's very confident assumption about how the convict made it into the Gargery household is a prime example of this humor...
Mr. Pumblechook made out, after carefully surveying the premises, that he (convict) ad first got upon the roof of the forge, and had then got upon the roof of the house, and had then let himself down the kitchen chimney by a rope made of his bedding cut into strips; and as Mr. Pumblechook was very positive and drove his own chaise-cart-over everybody-it was agreed that it must be so (57-58).
Ridiculous, to say the least...No? :)


message 29: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
As to Mr. Pumblechook's power of ratiocination, and how it was received by the company, including the colourful detail of the convict's tearing his bedclothes into strips, it's a stroke of genius in Dickens in that in real life, so I have found it, people often get away with declaring the most obvious hogwash to be the pink of wisdom, if only they do it with a certain degree of conviction (and moralizing).

When it comes to Pip, I don't know who was worse off as a child: he or David Copperfield - but I know that David never treated the only childhood friends he had with so much ingratitude. What I want to say is that the further I am reading into the novel, the less likeable Pip becomes to me.


message 30: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Ami wrote: "Chapter 6 ..."

That is an excellent analysis of Pip's thoughts and experience at that time. Thank you Ami!

I had been thinking that there is less humour than usual in this novel - and certainly than David Copperfield. Perhaps though, it is that the humour comes from minor characters. I'm not sure, as it often does. Perhaps it is merely that the other elements, such as the strong plot lines and atmosphere, are more to the forefront of my mind.


message 31: by Peter (new)

Peter | 2923 comments Mod
Humour in GE ...

Strange, but as I read the novel there is Pumblechook and I know I'm supposed to laugh at his pompous, irritating nature but what to do with Mrs Joe? Am I to see her as funny? Do I dismiss her physical agressivenesss towards both Pip and Joe as such a wild exaggeration that as a reader I should know it's just Dickens being ... well, Dickens?

I wonder if the original reading audience saw her as funny as they would Micawber from DC.


message 32: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
I am sure that we are supposed to laugh at Mrs. Joe and her inclination to be on the Rampage because she is presented in a more or less wry manner - what with her description, her cane being given the name of Tickler and the way in which she presents herself in the light of a selfless victim in conversations. In contrast, Mr. Murdstone was not a figure of ridicule but of unmingled abhorrence, whereas his sister also had some quaint features that made the reader laugh.

Mrs. Joe is not only funny, though, but also - from the point of view of a child, as is made very clear by Ami's insightful post - a figure of menace. At the same time, through Joe's story and the professions of love for her he is ready to make - as well (view spoiler), she is also a multi-dimensional character, which proves Peter's judgment of GE as a very intricate novel.

By the way, I used a spoiler above because I was referring to an event we discussed already several weeks ago, but which, strictly speaking, would be unknown to anyone who has not read beyond Chapters 06-07, which are the object of THIS thread.


message 33: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Although Mr. Murdstone, unlike Mrs. Joe, is not really a figure to be laughed at, and although David's domestic treatment at the hands of his stepfather is undoubtedly more gruesome and cruel than that of Pip at his sister's hands - Mrs. Joe would definitely not beat him with the sadistic pleasure and to the extent that Mr. Murdstone administered his "punishments" -, I would say that, all in all, David Copperfield is the more light-hearted and humorous novel to me. There are, for example, all those side characters - Aunt Betsey, Peggotty, the Micawbers, Mrs. Crupp, Traddles, and others -, which add a lot of humour to the story. When there is humour in GE, it is often quite bitter - less, though, than in Hard Times, which, in my opinion, has the bitterest humour of all Dickens's works - but still it is the sort of humour of a person that has seen a lot in life, not all of it cheerful and elevating.


message 34: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "I am sure that we are supposed to laugh at Mrs. Joe ..."

If that's so, I'm a failed reader. I don't recall having even a chuckle for her, let alone a laugh.


message 35: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. However, this was more because it reminded me of someone from my own childhood, so it was kind of a nostalgic smile.

Nevertheless, conceptions of what is funny have changed. Remember A Tale of Two Cities, where we were supposed to laugh at certain scenes of domestic violence in the Cruncher household. Nowadays, these scenes - as does Flintwinch's treatment of his wife - no longer invite us to mirthful laughter, but I am sure that Dickens's contemporaries found them funny.


message 36: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Although Mr. Murdstone, unlike Mrs. Joe, is not really a figure to be laughed at, and although David's domestic treatment at the hands of his stepfather is undoubtedly more gruesome and cruel than ..."

You just reminded me of how much I hated that guy.


message 37: by Kim (new)

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I am sure that we are supposed to laugh at Mrs. Joe ..."

If that's so, I'm a failed reader. I don't recall having even a chuckle for her, let alone a laugh."


I'm with you on this one.


message 38: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. "

I didn't find that funny because my mother taught me that method to be able to cut really thin slices of bread for afternoon tea. If you butter it on the loaf, the slices won't tear the way they often do (especially in home baked breads, which are usually looser in texture than store bought) and if you use softened butter you can spread it on the end of the loaf and cut off very thin slices. So rather than being humorous to me, it was highly nostalgic and took me back to lessons I learned at my mother's knee (like eating your bread butter side down, which they did during the war when butter was in short supply; if you eat the bread butter side down you can use less butter but still get as much of the good butter flavor because it hits your tongue first).


message 39: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Everyman wrote: " my mother taught me that method to be able to cut really thin slices of bread ..."

I remember that too! The loaves ended up a really peculiar shape as they got smaller! And the correct way to butter bread was to "scrape it on and then scrape it off again!"

By the way, what is a "failed reader"?


message 40: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou | 2229 comments Kim wrote: "Everyman wrote:

If that's so, I'm a failed reader. I don't recall having even a chuckle for her, let alone a laugh."

I'm..."


I'm with both of you. I can find humor in a lot of horrible Dickens characters ("Shake me up, Judy!") but could find none in Mrs. Joe.


message 41: by Linda (new)

Linda | 362 comments Everyman wrote: " my mother taught me that method to be able to cut really thin slices of bread for afternoon tea. If you butter it on the loaf, the slices won't tear the way they often do (especially in home baked breads, which are usually looser in texture than store bought) and if you use softened butter you can spread it on the end of the loaf and cut off very thin slices. "

This is a good tip, and one that I've not heard of until now. I'm going to try this the next time I bake bread as I know all too well the frustrations of having to cut thick slices so as not to tear apart the entire loaf!


message 42: by Ami (last edited Apr 11, 2017 08:57PM) (new)

Ami | 371 comments Tristram wrote: "As to Mr. Pumblechook's power of ratiocination, and how it was received by the company, including the colourful detail of the convict's tearing his bedclothes into strips, it's a stroke of genius i..."

As to Mr. Pumblechook's power of ratiocination, and how it was received by the company, including the colourful detail of the convict's tearing his bedclothes into strips,
Yes, exactly what I was thinking while reading, and most especially at this particular moment (tearing of the bedclothes to strips). SMH!

When it comes to Pip, I don't know who was worse off as a child: he or David Copperfield - but I know that David never treated the only childhood friends he had with so much ingratitude.
I am thinking about some comparisons between the two myself while reading along. At this moment, I think Pip is worse off because the hardship he has endured is at the hands of a family member; whereas, David continuously encounters hardships by outsiders. Perhaps, my expectations for the idea of "family" is unrealistic in this sense because as I read about the interactions between older sister and younger brother, it is harder to swallow and take note of the harm she is doing to her young and impressionable brother because they are, after all, related. I remember feeling outright rage at David's mother for allowing the Murdstones to come between her and David, moreso, than at the deplorable acts committed by the Murdstones affecting David. The Murdstones antagonizing of David outlasts any egregious errors his mother may have made...They get top billing, in my eyes, for having caused David harm.

What I want to say is that the further I am reading into the novel, the less likeable Pip becomes to me
I am intrigued by your comment here...Keeping it in mind as I move forward.

I am sure that we are supposed to laugh at Mrs. Joe and her inclination to be on the Rampage because she is presented in a more or less wry manner
Well, in comparison to how Mr. Murdstone was depicted, now that you mention it, I do see this now. She's a bloody saint compared to Mr. Murdstone, Tristram. Like Kim, I too am reminded of how much I loathed him.

Mrs. Joe would definitely not beat him with the sadistic pleasure and to the extent that Mr. Murdstone administered his "punishments"
Wouldn't she, Tristram. She just seems so miserable with life, in general, taking it out on Pip...We may not be reading it as sister getting pleasure out of it, but isn't she experiencing relief on some level (considering chapters through 7)?


message 43: by Ami (last edited Apr 11, 2017 08:52PM) (new)

Ami | 371 comments Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. "

I didn't find that funny because my mother taught me that method to be abl..."


I remember you mentioning this somewhere, Everyman. I must say this is how I've been slicing up my loaves since...Butter first, then slice. Nice memory! :)


message 44: by Ami (new)

Ami | 371 comments Jean wrote: "Everyman wrote: " my mother taught me that method to be able to cut really thin slices of bread ..."

I remember that too! The loaves ended up a really peculiar shape as they got smaller! And the c..."


failed reader
dearest, it's in reference to missing the humor when reading Mrs. Gargery's parts. I failed as well. :P


message 45: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. "

I didn't find that funny because my mother taught me that method to be abl..."


This way of slicing bread I actually saw in the older generation of my family. One of my grandmothers used butter extremely sparingly, and she would also have taken up your trick of eating the slice of bread with the buttered side down to make the most of it. - By the way, maybe this is the origin of the saying "knowing which side one's bread is buttered on"? - My other grandmother saw the ample use of butter as a sign of wealth, and of having overcome the post-war dearth, and so she would make sure that we children got our sandwiches thickly spread with butter. Eating well and healthily was all about butter. I'm not sure but I think her last words were, "Grieve not for me, o ye family members. I'm going on to a butter world."


message 46: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Ami wrote: "Tristram wrote: "As to Mr. Pumblechook's power of ratiocination, and how it was received by the company, including the colourful detail of the convict's tearing his bedclothes into strips, it's a s..."

I think that Pip's main hardship lies in everyone's inclination to pick on him, and (in his sister's case) to Tickle him, too. The only exception, though, is Joe, who stands by him and even protects him from time to time against his sister's wrath.

On the other hand, David might have had no family member using acting violence against him, but - as you say - there was the big disappointment of his mother failing to stand in between him and Mr. Murdstone. This must have given David a lot of anguish, all the more so since his life was bliss and harmony before the advent of the Murdstones. Pip, on the other hand, never expected anything gentle and loving from his sister since Mrs. Joe never showed any behaviour along those lines - and so he was at least not disappointed and shocked like David.

That's why I'd still say that Pip is better off than David - maybe it also has something to do with my not liking Pip particularly ;-)


message 47: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Thanks Ami :) But can there ever be such a thing as a "failed reader"? There sadly are failed authors, who are inept at what they are trying to do (as opposed to good authors who are not recognised) but the closest I can get to this, is thinking that one might fail at choosing what one enjoys.

As to Pip's older sister's treatment of him, I'm trying to think of another comparison in Dickens where a child is raised by an older sibling. There must be one ...

I think that might be the best way of understanding and assessing her behaviour, since she is neither parent nor step-parent, but clearly has her own grudges.


message 48: by Peter (last edited Apr 12, 2017 07:28AM) (new)

Peter | 2923 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. "

I didn't find that funny because my mother taught me that..."


Oh my. The joy of pun-ishment. All the butter to us who love even the yeast of them.


message 49: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "I found some things about her that made me smile, e.g. her way of cutting bread by buttering it first. "

I didn't find that funny because my moth..."


I vow butterment, and no longer to be such a churl ... uh churn. :-)


message 50: by Tristram (new)

Tristram Shandy | 4346 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "As to Pip's older sister's treatment of him, I'm trying to think of another comparison in Dickens where a child is raised by an older sibling. There must be one ..."

I can think of Florence Dombey, who practically raised her brother, i.e. she gave him love and understanding when he needed them, even learning his lessons for him so that she would be able to teach him. Of course, she did not bring him up by hand but by heart.


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